The theme of this year’s International Migrants Day is ‘reimagining human mobility.’ At West London Welcome, we’ve been building our community with our refugee, asylum seeking and migrant members during an incredibly difficult year. We believe that local communities should be at the forefront of supporting those facing profound life challenges related to refuge and migration, and we wish for and work towards a future in which all people, regardless of immigration status or background, have human rights and dignity. We’re marking International Migrants Day today by celebrating some of our newer members this year, and what they have to say about the importance of building community. Our casework and foodbank volunteer Georgia Fox, who supports our Spanish and Portuguese speaking members at our centre, spoke to and photographed some of our new Latin American members who have joined us this year.
“West London Welcome is a family. At the beginning it was a door to escape lockdown. I’m a people person, I love to be around people and so lockdown was very hard for me. During lockdown I had a new friend Rick, from WLW, who came to our house every week to give us food. I feel backup from the organisation because when you come here you don’t know anything and you feel lost. Now I know I have a place I can go to and share food, meet others, learn from other cultures, have back up and feel support. It’s really nice that even with masks, I feel smiles. I think that time is the most precious thing we have and the fact that all the volunteers share their time which means so much to me. Thank you is a small word for everything that I feel.” – Adilia
“The organisation is very important because they support us in many aspects – with food, legal support, clothes. It is a huge help. I have found many friendship. It is a family that means you don’t feel alone through the asylum seeking process. The organisation unites people from different cultures. You can share experiences with different people from different cultures. The organisation creates a huge circle of friendships of different people coming together.” – Daniel
“The organisation is a blessing because through it I’ve met others from different cultures. The organisation has helped me socialise because normally I am very shy and don’t like socialising. I’m so thankful of the organisation and everything they do to help me.” – Beatrice
“I would have to sit and write down everything that the organisation means to me! We came here not knowing anyone and we felt alone and at the organisation we feel at home. We didn’t come to the UK to take but we came to give what we can. One day we want to be able to be volunteers, to help those that came like us and need help. We are so thankful to all the people that make the organisation possible- all the people that donate things such as laptops, phones, clothes. Although we don’t see them and can’t thank them directly, we are so thankful to them.” – Consuelo
“We feel integrated. It is a welcoming environment with very kind people.” – Gabriela